This project will foster collaborations between computer scientists and geoscientists that will advance research in both areas. Geoscience problems are complex and often involve data that changes across space and time. Frequently geoscience knowledge and understanding provides valuable information and insight for problems related to energy, water, climate, agriculture, mineral resources, and our understanding of how the Earth evolves through time. Simultaneously, many grand challenges in the geosciences cannot be addressed without the aid of computational support and innovations. Intelligent and Information Systems (IS) research in computer science includes a broad range of topics and computational methods such as knowledge representation, information integration, machine learning, robotics, adaptive sensors, and intelligent interfaces. IS research has an important role to play in accelerating the speed of scientific discovery in geosciences and thus in solving challenges that cannot be addressed by other means. Similarly, many aspects of Geosciences (GEO) research pose novel large-scale problems for IS researchers to improve and validate their methods. Intelligent Systems for Geosciences (IS-GEO) represent an emerging community of interdisciplinary researchers producing fundamental new capabilities for understanding Earth systems and how the application of IS technologies can cultivate key new developments in both fields.
The EarthCube Research Coordination Network for Intelligent Systems for Geosciences (IS-GEO RCN) will catalyze collaborations to enable advances in our understanding of Earth systems through innovative applications of intelligent and information systems to fundamental geosciences problems. The goal of the IS-GEO RCN is to leverage expertise and generate interactions between both the geosciences and computing sciences communities to provide advanced scientific capabilities. To enable the network, the IS-GEO RCN will host meetings and other activities that: (1) foster an active and broad-based community across GEO and IIS areas; (2) identify barriers to research, such as terminology differences among the disciplines involved and highlight knowledge gaps that hinder collaboration across the disciplines; (3) establish and enhance communication channels between GEO and IS researchers; (4) defining grand challenges in geosciences that are well suited to IS techniques; and (5) encourage robust, long-term collaborations. Furthermore, the educational component aims to identify new approaches to teaching students in this new interdisciplinary area, seeking to raise a new generation of scientists that are better able to apply IS methods and tools to geoscience challenges of the future. By providing avenues for IS and GEO researchers to work together the IS-GEO RCN will serve as both a point of contact, as well as an avenue for educational outreach across the disciplines for the nascent community of research and practice.
The initial efforts are focused on connecting the communities in ways that help researchers understand opportunities and challenges that can benefit from IS-GEO collaborations. The uncertain, heterogeneous and disparate nature of geoscience data paired with recent IS advances and increases in observational data offer unique opportunities for new approaches and discoveries through joint efforts. The IS-GEO RCN will jumpstart interdisciplinary research collaborations in this emerging new area so that progress across both disciplines can be accelerated.